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More new housing for NT remote communities

Dechlan Brennan -

Nine families moved into new and upgraded homes across the Northern Territory this weekend.

The NT government has partnered with their federal counterparts to invest in housing in remote communities and Homelands, hoping to reduce overcrowding by upgrading fit-for-purpose homes in these communities. 

Families in Warruwi, both in South Golburn Island and Galiwinku, in Arnhem Land and the Rockhole and Binjari communities in the Big Rivers Region, have moved into their new homes. 

Warruwi resident Gail Ngalwungirr lives in a home with three generations of her family together. The new investment means the family can continue practising and celebrating culture under one roof. 

“The two bedrooms makes a huge difference for my family,” Ms Ngalwungirr said.

“It will also provide space for my grandmother who lives in Darwin and comes to visit us often.

“My children will have their own bedrooms, so they are looking forward to that.” 

Previously her two sons would often stay with other family members to respect the cultural boundaries around not sharing a bedroom with Ms Ngalwungirr’s daughter. 

“I have teenage boys, and they are forever hogging the showers. The extra bathroom means we don’t have to wait to use the shower,” Ms Ngalwungirr said.

“My kids used to take off and stay with family just to give my daughter some space because of the cultural boundaries within our community. Now with the extra space they can stay here.”

Gail and her family receiving new house keys from Arafura MP Manuel Brown (Image Supplied) 

 

In Warruwi, the last two homes scheduled to receive extensions under the Room to Breathe program have been completed. Houses containing three bedrooms and one bathroom have been renovated to now contain five bedrooms and an extra bathroom.  

Arafura MP Manuel Brown said the upgrades in Warruwi make “such a difference” to the families as well as the community. 
 
“I have heard great feedback from the community that the works had a quick two-month turn around, and families were able to move back into their homes sooner than expected,” Mr Brown said. 
 
“It is so important for teenagers in families to have their own rooms; growing adults need a culturally appropriate space to live comfortably.”

The housing works have been replicated in Galiwinku, where two families have been able to move into their new and larger replacement homes so the family group to stay together. 

In the remote community of Binjari, an uncle and two nieces of one extended family have been able to move into a triplex with a shared yard. This will enable them to have their own home but be neighbours so they can be close enough to assist one another. 

The Community decided to allocate the home to help Uncle Stuart - who needs a home with all-access as he gets older. Shania was living in too large a home for her needs and was looking to downsize, whilst Leandra was experiencing the opposite: an overcrowded home for her and her two children. 

The triplex meets their needs and overall, eight new or replacement homes in Binjari have been completed, with nine to receive upgrades and extensions. 

Stuart, Leandra and Shania with Minister Selena Uibo in front of their new homes in Binjari (Image: Supplied)

 

In homelands such as Rockhole, unlike in remote communities, the families own the land and homes. The NT government says they support the decision-making process between land councils and Traditional Owners and don’t make decisions on Aboriginal land. 

For two families in Rockhole, a homeland near Katherine, an extra bedroom is being added to their already upgraded homes. 

The NT government says providing “fit-for-purpose housing in communities” helps to alleviate overcrowding whilst allowing families to continue to practise culture in their own homes. 

Remote Housing and Homelands Minister Selena Uibo said the building of new homes means “better outcomes in health, education and employment” for Territorians and the program has “driven the most significant changes to remote communities ever seen in the NT".

 

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